Picking the best foods for losing weight is about so much more than simply counting calories.
It’s important to look at the nutritional values and how that works with your needs.
You can eat well without starving yourself or missing out on great taste!
These 17 best foods for losing weight are low in calories, healthy, and, best of all, filling.
Is Salmon Good For Weight Loss?
One of the best foods for losing weight is salmon. A healthy portion can keep you full for hours.
As far as nutrients go, salmon has a significant amount of protein and healthy fats (see Self Nutrition Data).
Need more reasons to eat salmon beside the fantastic taste? It’s a little-known fact that salmon is a great source of iodine, says research from the Annals of the National Institute of Hygiene.
Thankfully, it’s super easy to stock up on iodine with a delicious plate of salmon!
Summary: If you want to keep getting the benefits of fish with healthy fats but want to change up the flavor, there are plenty of other options. Trout, mackerel, herring, and sardines are all healthy and great-tasting!
Boiled Potato for Weight Loss
Some people look to cut down on the starchy foods stay away from white potatoes. They contain many vitamins making them good foods for weight loss.
Lots of people have diets deficient in potassium. That doesn’t have to be the case. Simply whip up a boiled potato and you’re good to go!
Why is white boiled potato one of the best foods for losing weight? The beauty of spuds is how many ways you can prepare them. It helps that they rank extremely high on the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition’s Satiety Index—higher than all other foods tested!
What that means is that you can eat a boiled potato and feel full for a long time. That keeps you from eating more, which can help you keep your weight in check.
The key to good boiled potatoes is to let them cool for a while after boiling. When you do, the potatoes form resistant starch, a substance with incredible weight loss benefits (see Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Journal of AOAC International, Advances in Nutrition, and the British Nutrition Bulletin).
Looking for variety? Mix up your potatoes with other root vegetables like sweet potatoes and turnips.
Summary: Eating boiled potato for weight loss isn’t a bad idea. Remember to watch how much you eat, though. Too much can still cause you to gain weight.
Is Cottage Cheese Healthy?
Cottage cheese is immensely popular among people striving to maintain a healthy weight—and with good reason! It’s healthy, tasty, and very filling.
Cottage cheese, like most dairy products, is an excellent source of protein.
Cottage cheese also gives you calcium, which helps strengthen your bones and teeth.
Eating cottage cheese can give you a much-needed calcium boost, given that many adults don’t get the calcium they need, stated The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and SFGate.
Summary: Is cottage cheese healthy? When you eat cottage cheese, you feel satisfied. This makes it great for snacking. Unlike junk foods, you actually feel full—and for far fewer calories!
Health Benefits of Whole Grains
Some people—particularly those following high-fat/low-carb diets—tend to stay away from grains. But that doesn’t mean there are no health benefits of whole grains. Grains provide lots of nutritional benefits, according to The Journal of Nutrition, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, and WebMD.
There are plenty of whole grains that give you significant amounts of protein and fiber. For instance, quinoa, brown rice, and oats are some of the best grains if you want to combine the benefits of fiber and protein for weight loss.
What you don’t know is that oats are rich in beta-glucans. These are soluble fibers that improve your metabolic health and help you feel full.
When you also factor in the high resistant starch content, you can see that grains are important foods for weight loss (see WebMD and research in Journal of Hematology & Oncology, Minerva Medica, and Medicina).
When considering the best foods for losing weight, consider the health benefits of whole grains. Stay away from the refined grains.
Even a lot of “whole grain” products are actually nothing more than processed junk food with high calories and no nutritional value.
Summary: Again, grains are something you might avoid if you happen to be on a strict no-carb diet. But, if your diet allows for some carbs, whole grains are a healthy, satiating choice that can really boost your health.
Grapefruit is a food that we just couldn’t keep off this list. Many studies (e.g. Journal of Medicinal Food) show grapefruit benefits on weight loss.
What are grapefruit benefits? The fruit is low in calories, rich in fiber and lower in carbs than some fruit. It’s also a good addition to a weight loss diet.
Researchers took obese individuals and during the testing phase, had them eat half a grapefruit before meals for twelve weeks.
They lost an average of 3.5 pounds over this period.
But that’s not all. The subjects who ate grapefruit also saw reduced insulin resistance.
Summary: Grapefruit has a delicious tangy taste. Eating some grapefruit before your meal helps with satiation. You feel full sooner, causing you to eat less (and lose more weight!).
Is Yogurt One of the Best Foods for Losing Weight?
Just can’t get enough dairy? Full-fat yogurt is the food for you!
There are lots of benefits of yogurt. Like other dairy products, it’s loaded with calcium and protein (see SFGate and studies in Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics, British Journal of Nutrition, and Current Nutrition Reports).
What makes full-fat yogurt special is its high level of probiotic bacteria, which according to The Medical Daily, Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, and the Journal of Food Science and Technology, may help your gut work better.
Why worry about your gut? It turns out that a healthy gut protects you against inflammation and leptin resistance (see studies in the British Medical Journal, Diabetes, Endocrinology, Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, and Nutrients).
Leptin is the hormone that controls your appetite. When your body is resistant to leptin, your brain says you’re hungry even though you’re full.
As you can imagine, leptin resistance leads to obesity, and studies from the Annual Review of Physiology, Obesity Reviews, Clinical Interventions in Aging, and Obesity can confirm. Thus, full-fat yogurt helps protect you against weight gain.
Summary: Is yogurt goof for the diet? Yes! When shopping for yogurt, make sure you choose full-fat and not low-fat. It’s full-fat yogurt that research links to the reduced risk of obesity. Low-fat yogurt, on the other hand, is full of sugar—so stay away from it.
Beans and Legumes – The Fiber Appetite Suppressant
Beans and legumes can be among the best foods for losing weight.
What’s more, beans and legumes come with a good amount of resistant starch.
The only precaution you need to take with legumes is to prepare them properly.
When you get them down pat, legumes and beans are filling, savory, and can form the basis of an endless number of unique dishes.
Benefits of Avocados
Few foods are as popular among health enthusiasts as avocados.
Avocados have a killer taste. And unlike most other fruits, they’re relatively low in carbs. Instead, they’re loaded with the right kinds of fats.
For instance, avocados are full of monosaturated oleic acid, stated the Journal of the American Heart Association and Diabetes Care. That’s the same kind of fat you get from olive oil. You can even buy avocado oil to cook your favorite recipes healthier.
Avocados may contain high-fat content, but they also have a lot of water. So, the fat content is not actually that dense.
Why else are the benefits of avocados so beloved? They’re great on almost everything. Add them to a salad. Put them atop a bunless burger. Use them in wraps or burritos. Turn them into guacamole and enjoy with baked chips.
Avocados even taste amazing by themselves. Crack one open, sprinkle a bit of salt or spice, and eat with a spoon as a quick snack!
Summary: Avocados are an amazing source of healthy fats that taste great. They work in tons of recipes and can even replace meat.
Diet Soup and Hunger
The best foods for losing weight often have low energy density. That’s because a low energy density dish normally makes you feel full without eating as many calories, according to The Mayo Clinic.
Which foods are low energy density? Usually the ones with a lot of water in them like fruits and vegetables.
Of course, you can simply make an entire dish out of water. Hence soup!
Soup helps you to consume fewer calories. And often, you can turn your favorite dishes into soup. Want chicken? How about chicken soup? Have a hankering for meatballs. Try meatball soup!
A soup prepared properly can be a true explosion of flavor. Add the right spices and you’ll find your soup to be even more satisfying.
Would you like to make your soup more filling? Add plenty of veggies. A hot soup with some veggies and meat can warm you up and serve as a comfort food.
Summary: Soups have lots of water and that means your belly will fill up quick. But, beware of canned or packaged soups. A lot of times, these soups have a lot of salt and calories. They undo the beneficial properties of a homemade soup.
Lean Beef and Chicken Breast
For a while, meat’s reputation among the health-conscious took a beating. Fortunately, people realize that there’s absolutely no reason to think ill of meat. Meats are incredibly good for you.
It’s processed meat that’s the problem. Processed meat is incredibly unhealthy and is typically full of additives and sodium.
The high protein content makes meat one of the best foods for weight loss. That’s because protein is the most filling nutrient. Eating a lot of protein helps you burn calories—as many as 100 extra calories per day.
Your desire to eat late at night goes down by as much as 50%.
You can experience weight loss of a pound per week.
Good protein in your diet is truly a force to be reckoned with!
Summary: Eating reasonable amounts of lean meats is one of the best things you can do for your body. And if you’re on a low-carb diet, like the Atkins 20 Diet or Atkins 40 Diet, you can even add some fatty meats.
Tuna – Is Fish Healthy?
Why tuna? Simply put, tuna is high in protein and low in calories. It also doesn’t have a lot of fat.
In fact, that’s part of the reason why tuna is so popular with bodybuilders and models.
It’s a powerful source of protein that comes with few calories and little fat (see Self Nutrition Data).
“Tuna is a superfood full of Omega 3s, numerous vitamins and all nine essential amino acids. Research shows that nutrients in tuna are good for the heart, skin, hair, and brain development. Who doesn’t want to be smarter, stronger and sexier. If you are concerned about mercury, Safe Catch tests every single tuna for mercury (no other brand does). Safe Catch also uses a special technique to raw pack sushi grade steaks and slow cook them just once to retain all the vital nutrients and Omega 3s.” Bryan Boches, Co-founder of Safe Catch.
One thing to note is that Albacore tuna contains higher mercury levels. According to Environmental Research, the total mercury in Albacore tuna is (mean .407 ppm) versus traditional canned tuna is (mean .118 ppm).
Summary: Tuna canned in water is one of the best ways to add more protein to your diet. Be careful not to choose the tuna canned in oil. The oil mixes with the tuna’s natural fat, which causes valuable Omega-3 fatty acids to get flushed thrown out when you drain the tuna.
Chili Peppers For Weight Loss
Chili peppers are zesty, hearty and one of the best foods for losing weight!
Peppers are a treasure trove of the substance capsaicin, which diminishes your appetite and even helps you burn more fat (see studies from the Journal of Medicinal Food, Open Heart, and the British Journal of Nutrition).
Capsaicin is actually sold as a standalone supplement. But, in many of the best foods for losing weight it is used as a spice.
However, it appears the body creates a tolerance to the chili. People who ate spicy food regularly didn’t see the same appetite-suppressing benefits as those who only ate them sparingly.
Summary: Chili peppers remain one of the all-around best sources of capsaicin. Capsaicin helps the body naturally burn fat.
Chia Seeds and Weight Loss
There’s a vast list of chia seed health benefits.
Chia seeds do contain a relatively high carbohydrate count (12 grams per ounce), but the good thing is that 11 of those grams are fiber (see Self Nutrition Data).
Thus, chia seeds are a smart choice if you’re trying to maintain a low-carb diet. Also, chia seeds are one of the best fiber sources on the planet.
The interesting thing about chia seeds is their ability to expand when absorbing water. They contain so much fiber that they can expand up to 12 times their weight in water, becoming gel-like.
If you’re trying to eat less, chia seeds can help cut down your appetite.
Summary: The ability to reduce your appetite, plus the high fiber content, make chia seeds an essential addition to the best foods for weight loss arsenal!
Fiber in Fruit and Weight Loss
Even though fruit contains added sugar, it’s still very good for you. Studies indicate that fruits are one of best foods for losing weight.
Studies in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and Vopr Pitan say that most fruits are loaded with vitamin C. Plus, eating several helpings of fruit throughout the day probably means you’re eating less of the bad stuff (potato chips, soda, and other junk food).
Fruits generally have low energy density. That means they have fewer calories per serving than other foods. That, coupled with the length of time it takes to chew fruit, makes you consume a smaller number of calories during the day.
Also, the fiber helps minimize the effect of the sugar. Fiber stops sugar from moving into the bloodstream too quickly.
Summary: Fruit is great for just about everyone. You just may want to limit your fruit intake if you’re following a low-carb or ketogenic diet. Otherwise, eating fruit is a tasty way to lose weight the right way!
Health Benefits of Coconut Oil
Contrary to popular belief, not all fats are bad. Coconut oil is full of medium-length fatty acids known as Medium Chain Triglycerides.
Compared to other fats, Medium Chain Triglycerides boost your satiety, so you feel fuller. They also boost your body’s calorie-burning capacity, say studies from the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition and the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders.
Many studies have been done on the health benefits of coconut oil. Some indicate that coconut oil can help reduce belly fat.
Naturally, coconut oil has calories. The point isn’t to add coconut oil where you wouldn’t use oil. Rather, you use it as a replacement for less healthy types of oil.
If you like changing up the oils you use in your cooking; you can also try adding extra virgin olive oil to your pantry.
Summary: Coconut oil is often misunderstood. Though it does contain some saturated fats (often thought of as unhealthy fats), the health benefits of coconut oil are well worth it. That’s why it’s one of the best foods for losing weight.
Benefits of Leafy Greens
In the mood for something fresh and energizing? Leafy greens like spinach, collards and kale may be just what you’re looking for.
When it comes to weight management, there’s no beating the benefits of leafy greens. They’re not only super low in carbohydrates and calories, but they’re also loaded with fiber. Products like Juice Plus and Superbeets are supplements sometimes used in place of leafy vegetables.
Use these greens to make your food more voluminous without upping the calorie count. Including an abundance of low energy density foods is key to eating fewer calories.
Plus, leafy greens are full of many important nutrients, including vitamins and antioxidants. Many even have a high amount of calcium, which has tremendous weight loss benefits, according to research done by the Department of Foods and Nutrition, at Purdue University.
Summary: Leafy greens are often not appreciated for their excellent nutrition. They are a good source of fiber, vitamins and antioxidant. All of these are great for your health.
Nuts – One of the Best Foods for Losing Weight
Almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews – nuts are high in fat, but they aren’t fattening. They have good fat, plus fiber and protein.
Why munch on nuts? According to the International Journal of Obesity and Related Metabolic Disorders and The Journal of Nutrition, nuts have a positive impact on your metabolism. They help with weight loss.
Of course, as with any food, you don’t want to overdo it. Bear in mind that nuts have a relatively high-calorie content. Use them as a light snack, or throw some in your yogurt.
Summary: Nuts and weight loss go hand-in-hand. They give you healthy fats, fiber and protein for good health and less hunger. So, nuts are one of the best foods for losing weight.
What Users Are Saying
“Bananas are fine to eat every day. Post work out they are great. The potassium is really good for muscle recovery. They have high GI levels, but I’ve never heard anyone say that you should only eat bananas on occasion when trying to lose weight.”
“Eggs all day!. So versatile with both protein and good fats, pretty low calorie. Can be made so many ways. Delicious! Also, I’m a pretty big overnight oats person. And for dinners, a staple is a one-pan meal with chicken breast, sweet potatoes, squash or asparagus.”
“For breakfast I usually eat scrambled eggs (2-3). I add a little salsa to it and it’s pretty yummy and filling. Alternatively, I also used to have a pita with almond butter, banana and a little honey. Those are both fairly quick to prepare and worked well at keeping me full. I’m terrible at lunch and dinner so I’ll stop there. Lol”
Final Thoughts on the Best Foods for Weight Loss
There are aspects of the best foods for losing weight that can be challenging, but eating right doesn’t have to be one of them.
As you can see, there are loads of delicious foods for weight loss to help your results. There are options enough to try something new every day of the week.
Go through our list and mix and match these foods according to your tastes. Let us know in the comments what works best for you!
17 Best Foods for Losing Weight (Without Going Hungry) Questions & Answers
Yes, eating healthy and exercising regularly can help reduce waist size over time. A balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and healthy fats is important for overall health and wellness, as well as supporting a smaller waist size. Additionally, regular physical activity can also help to shrink the midsection. It is important to speak with a healthcare professional before beginning any new diet or exercise plan.
Summer Banks has researched over 5000 weight-loss programs, pills, shakes and diet plans. Previously, she managed 15 supplement brands, worked with professionals in the weight loss industry and completed coursework in nutrition at Stanford University.